a new vibrant community hub is emerging in the southern part of the dutch city of rotterdam. the first completed project of the urban development project is the aquatics center ‘zwemcentrum rotterdam’, a venue for professional athletes as well as the people of rotterdam. SILO, together with kraaijvanger architects, created a surprising, welcoming, and safe entrance area.


the full mosaic
image © SILO

 

 

in the years to come, the construction of new public buildings and the redevelopment of the public space will result in a metamorphosis of the area around zuidplein and ahoy. it will become a place where residents, visitors, and entrepreneurs truly can feel at home. one of the most important changes is the conversion of the former municipal office building into the aquatics center.


the graphic design for the mosaic integrated into the architecture
image © SILO

 

 

featuring an olympic-sized pool and a multi-use short course, the center offers all the facilities that professional athletes need but also caters to recreational swimmers. the public space around the center will have a pleasant and inviting appearance. the building entrance requires special attention: as a visitor, you enter the aquatics center into an unmanned hall with a staircase and elevator. the ticketing desks, catering facilities, and access to the pools are only located on the upper level. how do you ensure that visitors feel welcome, but also secure in the entrance hall? SILO and kraaijvanger chose to connect the aquatics center and its visitors with an idiosyncratic welcome.


the entrance to the aquatics center
all images courtesy of thijs wolzak unless stated otherwise

 

 

‘for the walls of the entrance hall, we created a singular image which combines hand-drawn illustrations with 3d-manipulated graphics,’ says rene toneman, creative director at silo. ‘most of the elements in the image you would expect in a swimming pool: sport and games, lane ropes, ceramic tiles, water movement, and reflection. however, in that playful amalgamation of elements, three enormous whales appear; giant but good-natured. a welcoming intervention that is surreal, yet very appropriate.’


the whales accompany visitors up the stairs

 

 

the friendly and courteous whales greet the visitors and act as watchful giants. psychological research shows that images of eyes can have a positive effect on security. where cameras make supervision explicit, the whales’ big eyes can induce more pro-social behavior in a natural way. with their observant gaze, they literally keep an eye on the unmanned entrance area. strict requirements apply to swimming pools when it comes to the safety and durability of materials. the iconic image was therefore realized as an innovative pixel-perfect mosaic of 160m², consisting of 967,375 tiles. in its entirety, the mosaic applies identity of the swimming pool and enhances the visitor experience of the entrance area. 


the whales literally keep an eye on the entrance area


the wall of the entrance area interfaces with views on the swimming pools

 


the whales are an appropriate intervention: giant but good-natured


the friendly and courteous whales greet the visitors and encourage the pro-social behavior

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: maria erman | designboom

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

    PRODUCT LIBRARY

    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    art news